While crashes between automobiles and animals can occur in any state and happen any time of the year, State Farm did observe based on insurance data that the most dangerous months for animal collisions are the last three – November, October, and December, in order of their collision risk.
In terms of estimated animal collision claims numbers within the 2020-2021 period, the top five states were Pennsylvania (166,404), Michigan (132,387), Texas (131,373), California (104,767) and North Carolina (98,409). State Farm pointed out that in Texas and California’s cases their estimated claims numbers saw increases of 19% and 65%, respectively, from the previous period.
But when only considering the likelihood of a driver hitting an animal, the top list of US states in terms of collision likelihood looks very different, State Farm found. West Virginia leads the nation with a 1 in 37 chance, followed by Montana (1 in 39), South Dakota (1 in 48), Michigan (1 in 54) and Pennsylvania (also 1 in 54).
State Farm explained why the two state ranking lists differ; the collision likelihood list takes into consideration both the number of licensed drivers and the total number of animal collisions in each state, while the claims ranking only counts the estimated number of claims.
State Farm also broke down the kinds of animals involved in such crashes. It was noted that a veritable “Noah’s Ark” of animals – ranging from chickens, alligators, bats, cows, pigs, armadillos, bears, donkeys, eagles, horses, coyotes, owls, cats, dogs, and so on – can be involved in crashes. But during the 12-month study period, deer was the most widely reported animal involved in crashes (1.4 million), followed by “unidentified animals” (189,715), rodents (110,976), dogs (92,924) and raccoons (58,020).
“Animal collisions remind us of the intrinsic risk that comes with driving a motor vehicle that has the potential of travelling very fast,” said State Farm auto claims lead and operations vice president Kimberly Sterling. “Scanning the road while we drive and avoiding speeding, which has been very prevalent during the pandemic, can avoid and reduce the severity of all kinds of car crashes, including those where pets or wild animals are involved.”